Annulment lawyer disbarred for offering quick fix – SC
MANILA, Philippines — Having a speedy legal process is all well and good — but not the kind promised by this attorney.
The Supreme Court has disbarred a lawyer — a repeat offender — who offered to secure a quick, favorable court ruling for a client in connection with his mother’s annulment case.
In a statement on Wednesday, the tribunal said Ronaldo Salvado should be dropped from the roll of attorneys for yet another violation of the Lawyer’s Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Salvado had actually been suspended twice for the same infractions in handling annulment cases, the high court noted.
In the latest violation, it said, he assured a client, Roger Asuncion, that he could have the marriage of the latter’s mother and her former husband annulled in exchange for P700,000 in legal fees.
Done in ‘two months’
According to court records, Asuncion hired the lawyer in 2013 to help him obtain legal documents that would show that his mother’s marriage to her estranged husband in 1983 had already been dissolved before she remarried in 1988.
In text messages sent to Asuncion, Salvado made a guarantee that he could have his mother’s annulment petition approved in just two months with the help of the lawyer’s “connections.”
But the supposed “deal with his connections” did not push through after Asuncion failed to pay Salvado’s legal fees in full, the court said.
“Salvado was aware from the start that a judgment would not be promulgated in a matter of two months from the filing of a petition for annulment, yet he agreed to deliver an antedated judgment on an annulment proceeding, which can only be procured through illegal means,” it added.
Asuncion later sought the disbarment of Salvado.
The lawyer, who admitted making such a promise to Asuncion, committed an offense when he “accepted an engagement which would entail the commission of an act contrary to law.”
The violation was “further compounded by his failure to return the amount paid to him by his client when their agreement did not materialize,” the tribunal added.
Aside from being dropped from the roll, Salvado was also ordered to return the P420,000 he received from Asuncion as initial payment.
“Salvado lacks good moral character and is unworthy of being a member of the legal profession considering his previous violations,” the court stressed. “(His) disbarment from the practice of law is effective immediately.”
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